Why Social Media is Essential For Marketing Your Brand

Whether you like it or not, social media is here to stay. It has become so ingrained in our every day lives, that it would take a big downfall for a lot of platforms to disappear completely.

Social media is not just for personal use. Social media has become an essential for any business in today’s market if they want to succeed.

But why? What does social media give you the ability to do that other traditional methods don’t?

Before we explore why social media is essential to market your company and your brand, make sure to follow me on my social media so you can stay up to date.

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Improved Brand Awareness

Social media is one of the cheapest and most stress-free digital marketing opportunities that can be used to get your brand in front of people. With just a few hours spent on social media each week, you’ll be able to increase user experience and brand visibility.

Cost Effective

All social media channels are free to use. They have no cost at sign up and you could launch a successful platform without ever spending a dime. When you do want to put a little money into paid advertising on social media, you can set the amount of money you want to spend, so you can find out the most cost effective amount of money based on returns.


Engage with Customers

Customers love to give their feedback, and social media gives them another platform to do that. It also gives you a chance to tell your story, and interact with customers how you want to. The more you talk to them, the more chance you have to convert them to your brand and your products.

Healthier Customer Satisfaction

Customers appreciate receiving feedback about their grievances. We all feel appreciated and looked after when a brand or business’ social media accounts respond to one of our comments or reviews. A brand that values its customers, takes the time to compose a personal message, which is perceived naturally in a positive light. A customer’s satisfaction goes hand in hand with your brand identity. It is essential to introducing your organization and your products.


Improved Brand Loyalty

A customer’s satisfaction goes hand in hand with your brand identity. It is essential to introducing your organization and your products in a positive light and keeping it there in the eye’s of your customers.

One of the main goals of social media platforms is to develop a loyal customer base. It is essential to engage with your customers, but it also allows you to run promotional campaigns.

Increase Traffic

Simply put, social media can help increase your website traffic. Sharing content on social media opens the door for people to click through your website. The more you share on social media, the more inbound traffic you will generate while making customers convert to your brand or products.


Increase SEO

By regularly posting on your social media pages, and updating that marketing strategy, you can increase traffic and SEO, as well as improving brand loyalty. The quicker you get started, the faster you will see growth over your competitors.

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

As I finish up the Harry Potter series of reviews, we come to the second last book in the series: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

If you want to read my other reviews on the series, you can find them here:

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Title: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Author: J.K. Rowling
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Page Count: 652

The war against Voldemort is not going well; even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of the Daily Prophet, looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.

And yet . . .

As in all wars, life goes on. The Weasley twins expand their business. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate – and lose a few eyebrows in the process. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, through Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.

So it’s the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Here at Hogwarts, Harry will search for the full and complete story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort – and thereby find what may be his only vulnerability.


Another Story-less book

This is the second book in the Harry Potter series that really doesn’t have a lot to do with the main story. The other is the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Half Blood Prince has more to do with the overall Harry Potter story, with Horcruxes being introduced and Dumbledore dying.

I feel like without most of this book, the story wouldn’t change too much. The same plot points could have been introduced in other books, and at least 75 per cent could have been removed.


Harry is Still Useless

I will always argue that Harry isn’t a good wizard. He doesn’t really excel at much other than flying on a broom.

He isn’t particularly gifted and he needs a lot of help with pretty much everything he does. Without his friends and mentors, Harry would have been dead half way through book one if it wasn’t for his friends helping him.

He has some interesting moments in the series, but more often that not, he defeats his enemies because of some magical abilities or a plot device.


This World Makes no Sense

There is this job in the Harry Potter world called an Auror correct? They are tasked with being the magic police basically, right? Am I wrong in remembering that?

How is it that an entire world’s worth of Aurors and wizards can’t root out Voldemort’s whereabouts and stop him and his allies?

I get they are infiltrated and you can’t really trust a lot of people, but Death Eaters seem to be fairly well-known. Couldn’t they be arrested?

It seems like there is a lot of plot holes in the world that don’t make a lot of sense.

It doesn’t necessarily make the book bad, but when you think about the rest of the world, it doesn’t add up.


Final Thoughts

This is a mediocre book in the series. The only interesting part of the book is the last 10-20 per cent, where Harry and Dumbledore hunt for the locket.

The series reaches its ultimate finale after this book, and though this one is a bit on the boring side, it’s title is even worse. The “Half Blood Prince” ultimately leads to a pointless conclusion that has zero effect on the story.


What were your thoughts on the Half Blood Prince? Let’s talk about it in the comments or on social media!
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Quotes from Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

Here is a collection of quotes from Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson. If you are interested in my review you can find it here.

Oathbringer Review

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“Sometimes a hypocrite is nothing more than a man in the process of changing.” 
― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer

“To love the journey is to accept no such end. I have found, through painful experience, that the most important step a person can take is always the next one.” 
― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer

The most important step a man can take. It’s not the first one, is it? 
It’s the next one. Always the next step, Dalinar.
” 
― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer

“I will take responsibility for what I have done,” Dalinar whispered. “If I must fall, I will rise each time a better man.” 
― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer


Yes, I began my journey alone, and I ended it alone. 
But that does not mean that I walked alone.
” 
― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer

“The most important words a man can say are, “I will do better.” These are not the most important words any man can say. I am a man, and they are what I needed to say.

The ancient code of the Knights Radiant says “journey before destination.” Some may call it a simple platitude, but it is far more. A journey will have pain and failure. It is not only the steps forward that we must accept. It is the stumbles. The trials. The knowledge that we will fail. That we will hurt those around us.

But if we stop, if we accept the person we are when we fall, the journey ends. That failure becomes our destination. To love the journey is to accept no such end. I have found, through painful experience, that the most important step a person can take is always the next one.

I’m certain some will feel threatened by this record. Some few may feel liberated. Most will simply feel that it should not exist. I needed to write it anyway.” 
― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer

“The trick to happiness wasn’t in freezing every momentary pleasure and clinging to each one, but in ensuring one’s life would produce many future moments to anticipate.” 
― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer

“A journey will have pain and failure. It is not only the steps forward that we must accept. It is the stumbles. The trials. The knowledge that we will fail. That we will hurt those around us. 
But if we stop, if we accept the person we are when we fail, the journey ends. That failure becomes our destination.” 
― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer


“But merely being tradition does not make something worthy, Kadash. We can’t just assume that because something is old it is right.” 
― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer

“Some men, as they age, grow kinder. I am not one of those, for I have seen how the cosmere can mistreat the innocent – and that leaves me disinclined toward kindness. Some men, as they age, grow wiser. I am not one of those, for wisdom and I have always been at cross-purposes, and I have yet to learn the tongue in which she speaks. Some men, as they age, grow more cynical. I, fortunately, am not one of those. If I were, the very air would warp around me, sucking in all emotion, leaving only scorn.
Other men…other men, as they age, merely grow stranger. I fear that I am one of those. I am the bones of a foreign species left drying on the plain that was once, long ago, a sea. A curiosity, perhaps a reminder, that all has not always been as it is now.” 
― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer

“Life was about momentum. Pick a direction and don’t let anything—man or storm— turn you aside.” 
― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer

“As long as you keep trying, there’s a chance. When you give up? That’s when the dream dies.” 
― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer


“Love wasn’t about being right or wrong, but about standing up and helping when your partner’s back was bowed.” 
― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer

“Plan every battle as if you will inevitably retreat, but fight every battle like there is no backing down.” 
― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer

Tips on How to Host a Giveaway

Giveaways are a great way to grow your audience, and are relatively simple to host. They don’t require a lot of work and planning, but it is important to know what is needed before starting one.

If you want some additional information on giveaways, check out a few of my other posts.

Are Promotional Giveaways Getting “Boring”???
Pros and Cons of Hosting a Giveaway

If you enjoy this type of content, make sure to follow me on social media for more.

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Follow these simple steps if you are planning on hosting a giveaway for your platform.

WHAT PRIZES TO GIVE AWAY

The first thing you need to figure out is what prize people will be competing for. You wan’t to make sure it is worth the effort people will put in to the giveaway.

Consider:

  • Value of the prize
  • Benefits of using your own product versus an external product
  • Prize description in the contest form: make sure users know exactly what they are entering to win

WHERE TO PROMOTE THE GIVEAWAY

You could have the absolute best giveaway planned, but if you don’t promote it, nobody will enter. You need to plan what platforms you will promote the giveaway on.

BUT, don’t over extend yourself. It might be smart to limit the giveaway to a few platforms instead of all of them.

Without the proper promotions, all your well laid plans can go to waste.


WHAT WORDING TO USE

You want to use short but effective wording. Be as simple as possible, but give plenty of detail so that everyone understands what the giveaway is and will involve.

Avoid using slang or casual terms if your company language usually doesn’t. This can be distracting and take away from the point of the giveaway: to raise positive brand awareness about your company.

Giveaway social media posts should include the following information:

  • What the prize is
  • How to enter
  • When the giveaway ends
  • How the winner is contacted
  • Giveaway hashtags, if they are a component of entering the giveaway
  • Link to legalese, if applicable

HOW TO REACH OR CHOOSE THE WINNER

One of the benefits of having entrants follow your social media account is you can DM them to let them know they are the winner.

If you’re using Woobox or a similar software to run the giveaway, it’s easy to randomly pick a winner, then use their entered email address to tell them how to claim their prize.

Before sending a gift card or other prize in the mail or via email, make sure to contact the winner first so they know to expect the prize. That way, they can let you know if they didn’t receive it. If you have their permission, you can also tag them as the winner to refresh interest and let everyone know that the giveaway is over.


Each giveaway is different than any other before it, but for the most part, they follow the same simple steps.

Make sure you understand your audience and your content before hosting a giveaway.

Book Review: Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

With Rhythm of War coming out in a few months, I have been reviewing the entire Stormlight Archives series.

The Way of Kings
Words of Radiance

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Title: Oathbringer
Rating: ★★★★☆
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: High Fantasy
Page Count: 1,248

In Oathbringer, the third volume of the New York Timesbestselling Stormlight Archive, humanity faces a new Desolation with the return of the Voidbringers, a foe with numbers as great as their thirst for vengeance.

Dalinar Kholin’s Alethi armies won a fleeting victory at a terrible cost: The enemy Parshendi summoned the violent Everstorm, which now sweeps the world with destruction, and in its passing awakens the once peaceful and subservient parshmen to the horror of their millennia-long enslavement by humans. While on a desperate flight to warn his family of the threat, Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with the fact that the newly kindled anger of the parshmen may be wholly justified.

Nestled in the mountains high above the storms, in the tower city of Urithiru, Shallan Davar investigates the wonders of the ancient stronghold of the Knights Radiant and unearths dark secrets lurking in its depths. And Dalinar realizes that his holy mission to unite his homeland of Alethkar was too narrow in scope. Unless all the nations of Roshar can put aside Dalinar’s blood-soaked past and stand together–and unless Dalinar himself can confront that past–even the restoration of the Knights Radiant will not prevent the end of civilization.


The World is Torn Open

Oathbringer starts in a world that has been torn open. A world that nobody has ever seen, and nobody quite understands anymore.

Most things are the same for our characters, but the few differences are changing things so quickly that this 1,200 page book seems so fast paced, its nearly impossible to put it down.

We follow the same characters throughout the book. It is their story, and we focus on how their actions and experiences affect and are affected by everything that is going on.

Sanderson is a master world builder. Within three books, he has made a world with so many mysteries and background plot lines, that it’s created a spiderweb in my mind of the possibilities.

Sanderson writes in a way that even though we know this series is going to take many more books to complete, we can’t help but feel the anxiety and stress that the characters are feeling. They must navigate this new world, and the stressors that come along with it.


A Series Just Beginning

The Stormlight Archive series is just beginning. We aren’t halfway done, yet I feel like these three books have created a world so much deeper than a lot of other books I read.

Oathbringer has opened the world’s doors even wider, and I can’t imagine how things will end up.

With each page, more answers were given, but at the same time, more mysteries and questions popped up.

Oathbringer is a big turning point in the story. We hit a turning point of the character’s ignorance being tested. Their beliefs and understandings of the world are either proven wrong, or are changed, and Sanderson’s writing does a great job at making it relatable and something that the readers are able to feel along with the characters.


A Deeper Experience

Oathbringer is a part of a series that is the best at world building and character arcs, in my opinion. Very few books I have read stand close to the work that Sanderson has done with this series.

Oathbringer focuses on Dalinar, the seemingly head of the Alethi forces against the end of the world. He has been deemed insane, almost from the first moment we met him.

Getting the chance to get into his mind has been one of the best choices by Sanderson.

Dalinar is the one character truly understanding what is happening, but even he doesn’t know a fraction of what is going on.

Getting inside his head and seeing the visions alongside him makes it possible to understand the world in a bigger sense than focusing on just the main characters.


Final Thoughts

Oathbringer is the third book in probably my favourite book series ever. It is so complex and build such an interesting world, that the reason I couldn’t give it five stars is because it might be getting too big.

Things can get too out there too quickly if Sanderson doesn’t focus the story a bit more. I know he has the writing capabilities to do so, but this world is getting larger and larger with each book, and it could quickly get too big for its own shoes.


What did you think of Oathbringer and the rest of the Stormlight Archive Series? Let’s chat about it in the comments or on social media.

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A Collection of Quotes from Signe Pike

Here is a collection of some of the best quotes from The Lost Queen by Signe Pike.

If you are interested in a review of the book, you can find it here.

If you like the bookish content, make sure to follow the Word Forge social media channels.

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“We may not always have the choice we would like. But we always have a choice.” 
― Signe Pike, The Lost Queen

“I have been a drop in the air. I have been a shining star. I have been a word in a book.
― Signe Pike, The Lost Queen

“In prehistoric times, early man was bowled over by natural events: rain, thunder, lightning, the violent shaking and moving of the ground, mountains spewing deathly hot lava, the glow of the moon, the burning heat of the sun, the twinkling of the stars. Our human brain searched for an answer, and the conclusion was that it all must be caused by something greater than ourselves – this, of course, sprouted the earliest seeds of religion. This theory is certainly reflected in faery lore. In the beautiful sloping hills of Connemara in Ireland, for example, faeries were believed to have been just as beautiful, peaceful, and pleasant as the world around them. But in the Scottish Highlands, with their dark, brooding mountains and eerie highland lakes, villagers warned of deadly water-kelpies and spirit characters that packed a bit more punch.” 
― Signe Pike, Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World


“I’d heard people say that as a traveler, you have to be careful not to get attached. Now that I’d felt it, I’d say that’s garbage. If you are lucky enough to find people worth getting attached to, attach yourself with nothing less than all of your heart. Because if you find a companion to walk a stretch of the road with you, a person whose warmth and kindness makes your journey feel much brighter, you have no other choice – you are among the very, very fortunate.” 
― Signe Pike, Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World

“Long ago, when faeries and men still wandered the earth as brothers, the MacLeod chief fell in love with a beautiful faery woman. They had no sooner married and borne a child when she was summoned to return to her people. Husband and wife said a tearful goodbye and parted ways at Fairy Bridge, which you can still visit today. Despite the grieving chief, a celebration was held to honor the birth of the newborn boy, the next great chief of the MacLeods. In all the excitement of the celebration, the baby boy was left in his cradle and the blanket slipped off. In the cold Highland night he began to cry. The baby’s cry tore at his mother, even in another dimension, and so she went to him, wrapping him in her shawl. When the nursemaid arrived, she found the young chief in the arms of his mother, and the faery woman gave her a song she insisted must be sung to the little boy each night. The song became known as “The Dunvegan Cradle Song,” and it has been sung to little chieflings ever since. The shawl, too, she left as a gift: if the clan were ever in dire need, all they would have to do was wave the flag she’d wrapped around her son, and the faery people would come to their aid. Use the gift wisely, she instructed. The magic of the flag will work three times and no more.
As I stood there in Dunvegan Castle, gazing at the Fairy Flag beneath its layers of protective glass, it was hard to imagine the history behind it. The fabric was dated somewhere between the fourth and seventh centuries. The fibers had been analyzed and were believed to be from Syria or Rhodes. Some thought it was part of the robe of an early Christian saint. Others thought it was a part of the war banner for Harald Hardrada, king of Norway, who gave it to the clan as a gift. But there were still others who believed it had come from the shoulders of a beautiful faery maiden. And that faery blood had flowed through the MacLeod family veins ever since. Those people were the MacLeods themselves.” 
― Signe Pike, Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World


“I wanted to find something of the beauty of myth that we’ve left behind, carry its shreds before us all, so we could acknowledge it, somehow bring it back to life. I wanted to delve back into that world that cradled us when we were young enough to still touch it, when trolls lived under creek bridges, faeries fluttered under mushroom caps, and the Tooth Fairy only came once you were truly sleeping. I wanted to see if enchantment was somehow still there, simply waiting to be reached. When I felt my loss, I realized that if I could do anything in this life, I wanted to travel he world, searching for those who were still awake in that old dreamtime, and listen to their stories – because I had to know that there were grownups out there who still believed that life could be magical.
And in that moment I decided: I am going to find the goddamn faeries.” 
― Signe Pike, Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World

“I don’t really believe in faeries. But I really want to. Not just for me, but for all of us. Because we are battered by adulthood- by taxes, by loss, by laundry. by nine to five, by deceit and distrust, by the crushing desire to be thin, successful, popular, happy, in love. All the while we are walking on a planet that is disintigrating around us.” 
― Signe Pike, Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World

Pros and Cons of Hosting a Giveaway

Giveaways are a great way for an organization, blogger, influencer, or company to gain followers, boost engagement, and increase brand awareness.

They are generally cheap, and easy to run if your social media platforms are big enough, plus they can help you feature a new product or service.

But, what are the pros and cons of hosting a giveaway? What good and bad things happen when you run one?

Here is a list of pros and cons of hosting a giveaway.

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Pros

  • Grow your following: Hosting a giveaway is a good way to build your social media following on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • Save money: Hosting a giveaway can be inexpensive and a cost-effective marketing channel strategy.
  • Gain exposure: Launching a new product with a giveaway can help generate buzz around your product and your brand.
  • Save time & headaches: Compared to a lot of other marketing strategies, hosting a giveaway isn’t overly difficult
  • Excite your followers: Hosting a giveaway can be a good way to get your followers excited about a new product, and can get them chatting and generating more interest.
  • Earn increased sales: Hosting a giveaway can help attract loyal customers who will potentially buy your product, or at the least, interact with your content.
  • Get to know your customers: What better way to find out what your followers are interested in or want than hosting a giveaway? It gives you the chance to see what types of giveaways are participating in and what strategies work the best.
  • Bank of goodwill: Many people will be upset that they didn’t win, but you can guarantee that the winners will be excited to hear about their prize and will say great things about you for some time.

Infographic from Easy Promos Blog.

Cons

  • Drama, drama, drama: There is always the potential to receive backlash from contestants that don’t win the giveaway. Be prepared for some backlash and be sure to respond to them in a kind and respectful way.
  • Time and money: Though giveaways aren’t large marketing campaigns, they will require some time and money to properly execute them. Be sure you are aware of the costs and the time that it will take to plan it all.
  • Frustration: There’s nothing worse than a perfectly planned strategy that doesn’t get off the ground like you hoped. If that’s the case, make sure you learn about what went wrong and improve on it in the future.
  • Long-term following: The followers you gain from hosting a giveaway might not lead to the long-term following that you hope. You will see a boost in numbers initially, but that number may dwindle slightly over time.

What are some pros and cons of giveaways that you have experienced in the past? Let’s talk about them in the comments.